Kidswear Fabric Recommendations

A killer fashion OOTD ain’t just for the grown-ups to slay no more. With increased demand and a greater variety of kidswear clothing styles over the recent years, it’s no wonder why it’s soon becoming one of the most lucrative segments in the apparel industry today, as big-name brands and high street labels jump on an opportunity not to be missed.

From adorable angelic dresses to badass streetwear outfits and even baby versions of popular designer apparel and sneakers, the market has come a long way. Designing a collection of kidswear in present times is no longer about having the best kidswear fabric to be made into t-shirts or swaddles, but rather, an array of everything—adorable dresses, little tuxedos, garments spotted in men’s, women’s and streetwear made into mini-me versions and more.

While manufacturing your own kidswear clothing is an exciting journey, the fabric selection process may be disconcerting as the available fabric options in the marketplace are endless. In this guide, we’ve put together a selection of our recommended fabrics to ease you through your kidswear clothing manufacturing journey. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, here are some notable points to be aware of, especially if you are designing a collection of baby clothes, which calls for more attention due to the delicate nature of newborns.

Things to note when manufacturing baby clothes:

Warm, Breathable Fabrics

As newborns and babies are less able to regulate their body temperature, it’s important to select soft, comfortable, easy-care and breathable fabrics to keep the little one warm while preventing overheating.

Fabric Dyes

Avoid dyes that contain heavy metals or are carcinogenic, instead, opt for low-impact or reactive dyes to keep little ones safe from any harmful chemicals and prevent any skin reactions or health conditions.

Material Features:

While not absolutely necessary, you may want to look out for certain features when picking out babies and kidswear fabric choices depending on the garment’s intended usage (formal/occasional vs everyday wear, delicate vs durable) such as:

  • Stain-resistant materials
  • Breathable fabrics
  • Anti-wrinkle
  • Hypoallergenic fabrics
  • Fabrics made from natural fibers
  • Moisture-wicking

Jersey

Also known as single knit, jersey-knit fabrics are one of the most basic forms of weft knitting and are a commonly used, highly diverse popular option for a plethora of clothing styles in the fashion industry.

Known for its stretchiness and close knits, the lightweight fabric is highly absorbent and breathable, making it a great choice for activewear, t-shirts, underwear, baby clothing as well as kidswear. 

Pros: 

  • Stretchy
  • Versatile
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Lightweight yet durable

Cons:

  • Prone to piling
  • May snag

Recommended for: onesies, rompers, t-shirts, leggings, tanks, dresses, pants, shorts, blouses, shirts

H&M
Patterned jersey dress

MUJI
Indian cotton jersey printed tee

OLD NAVY
Drawstring jersey shorts

MONCLER
Pagliaccetto Onesie

Linen

Made from fibers derived from the stems of flax plants, linen is a highly popular fabric choice for summer clothing thanks to its antibacterial, quick-drying and natural heat and moisture-wicking properties. Cool, breezy and absorbent, its structure allows it to dry quickly when it becomes damp.

Distinguishable by its unique appearance from irregularly shaped yarns containing lumps or “slubs”, linen can have a crisp hand for more structured and tailored apparel, or soft-finished for a softer drape. A functional fabric that is available in a variety of types depending on yarn size and weave density, linen is almost three times stronger than cotton. It is also long-lasting and gets softer and stronger with washing. Coupled with its low maintenance, cooling, breathable and durable properties, linen makes for an ideal fabric choice for babies and kidswear as it is comfortable and cool to wear even in humid weather conditions.

Pros: 

  • Softens with wash
  • Highly durable
  • Lightweight, cooling, breathable and quick-drying
  • Sustainable
  • Antibacterial

Cons:

  • Tendency to shrink
  • Wrinkle-prone

Recommended for: dresses, pants, shorts blouses, shirts

H&M
2-piece linen set

H&M
Linen dungaree

Infantium Victoria
Linen dress

Zara
Linen dress

Cupro

Image via fibrebio.com

A sustainable and eco-friendly fabric, cupro is made from the regenerated cellulose fibers of recycled cotton linter—a waste product of cotton whose fibers are too small to be spun, resulting in them being tossed away.

Extremely soft to the touch with a suede-like texture, cupro is often used as a vegan substitute for silk due to its silky aesthetic and ability to drape beautifully. Apart from its sustainable qualities, cupro is also extremely well-loved due to its hypoallergenic properties, as well as its superior, smooth and luxurious hand feel that is known to rival one of the king of fabrics, silk. This makes for a great, more affordable option for luxurious-looking kidswear apparel that won’t make parents cringe when it gets stained.

Pros: 

  • Luxurious feel that rivals silk
  • Sustainable and eco friendly
  • Great vegan alternative for silk
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Durable
  • Dries quickly

Cons:

  • Prone to piling

Recommended for: dresses, blouses, shirts

H&M
Cupro blend blouse

Il Gufo
Tiered cupro dress

Stella McCartney
Cherry cupro dress

Ponte Di Roma

Image via Vogue Fabrics

Roughly translated to ‘Roman Bridge’ in Italian due to the fabric’s structure resembling classic roman bridges, Ponte Di Roma (also known as Ponte or Ponte Roma) is a soft, sturdy and thicker double-knit fabric with a slight horizontally ribbed appearance.

Made from a combination of rayon, polyester and spandex, the highly versatile Ponte di Roma is comfortable and flattering, and also easy to care for due to its layers of interlocking knit. Found in various weighs, the fabric allows for a two-way stretch, molding to the body shape while it provides a smooth, sleek and streamlined silhouette.

Pros: 

  • Very resilient and stable
  • Almost rigid like a woven fabric
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Reversible

Cons:

  • Prone to snags

Recommended for: leggings, dresses, blouses, shirts

Ralph Lauren
Ponte dress 

Bardot Junior
Ponte dress

OshKosh
Ponte leggings

Velvet/Velour

A soft, luxurious fabric that is characterized by a dense pile of evenly cut fibers that have a smooth nap, velvet is the epitome of luxury in the fabric world. One of the most extravagant and opulent fabrics, it is typically made from silk, or a blend of silk and rayon produced on a special loom. Soft and plush with a beautiful drape, velvet is commonly used for formal or evening wear due to its high price and splendor, which makes for a great fabric option for dressier kidswear pieces.

For a more affordable option, opt for velour—a visually similar fabric with less softness and sheen due to the different production methods of small loops of fabric being cut off.

Pros: 

  • Highly luxurious appeal
  • Soft and plush to the touch
  • Drapes well

Cons:

  • Nap can get crushed from prolonged weight and pressure

Recommended for: dresses, pants, shorts

Pureté Du… Bébé
Velvet shorts

Gucci
Velvet pants

Gucci
Velvet dress

Crepe

Image via RYC Fabrics

Loosely woven to achieve its signature sheer and see-through appearance, chiffon is a weaving process using S and Z-twist crepe yarns that results in small puckers that are a little rough to the touch.

Lightweight, strong, semi-transparent and flowy, the gauze-like fabric makes an ideal choice for layering and creating playful flouncy dresses in kidswear such as flouncy dresses, blouses and skirts with an interesting texture and delicate feminine appearance.

Pros: 

  • Drapes well
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Ideal for layering
  • Strong and stretchy due to yarn twist and weaving pattern
  • Better movement than cotton and polyester

Cons:

  • Prone to fraying and pulling
  • Prone to shrinking and stretching
  • Susceptible to stains

Recommended for: dresses, pants, shorts, blouses, shirts

Chloe
Crepe blouse

Mer St Barth
Embroidered crepe dress

Karl Lagerfeld
Pleated crepe skirt

Georgette

Image via fibre2fashion

Often confused with chiffon, georgette has a somewhat rough texture and is very drapey, as opposed to chiffon’s smoother surface and reduced drape.

Soft and smooth in appearance, it is primarily made from silk or synthetic silk-like fibers woven tightly with twisted yarns, creating a crinkle effect. Loved for its flowy structure and drape, the lightweight and breathable fabric is a favored option for women, girls and kidswear as it adds a beautiful feminine flouncy body to garments such as dresses and skirts.

Pros: 

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Drapes beautifully
  • Interesting signature puckered appearance

Cons:

  • Delicate fabric, requires more care
  • Prone to snagging

Recommended for: blouses, shirts, dresses

Chloe
Silk georgette shirt

Twinset
Georgette blouse

D&G
Georgette mini dress

Stella McCartney
Silk georgette dress

Satin

Renowned as a top choice for evening dresses, satin is a type of weave fabric with a smooth and irradiant-like surface. Constructed with fewer interlaces, it creates a smooth, lustrous and shiny surface that features a glossy top side and duller underside.

The soft fabric drapes beautifully and lends a luxurious look, which makes it a great option for formal, evening-style kidswear garments. Soft and silky on the skin with its signature smooth shine, the fabric lends a luxurious touch to garments, making it a great choice for evening or formal pieces.

Pros: 

  • Soft, shiny, lustrous and drapes beautifully
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Luxurious look and feel

Cons:

  • Silkier satins can be prone to snags, pulls and abrasions
  • Extra care required for silk satins

Recommended for: blouses, shirts, dresses

H&M
Cold shoulder satin blouse

Balmain
Satin dress

MSGM
Satin dress

Junona
Satin blouse

Lace

A symbol of status and luxury in the olden days, lace is an exquisite patterned fabric with unique and romantic characteristics. Hand or machine-made using loops or interlacing threads in a web-like pattern, the lace openwork features a delicate mesh fabric with a range of intricate designs and styles.

Previously only available to the wealthy until machines that could imitate openwork thread designs in lace were invented, most laces in the market are machine-made due to the labor-intensive skill and cost of handmade lace. Hollow and see-through with a jacquard or embroidery pattern, the fabric is lightweight and sheer, which makes it great for layering with other fabrics.

If you find traditional lace too grown-up, age-inappropriate, romantic/sexy or unsuitable in relation to the garment’s design for babies and kidswear, opt for crochet or eyelet lace which has more of a youthful and casual look.

Pros: 

  • Beautiful and unique pattern
  • Adds a luxurious, romantic and feminine touch
  • Breathable
  • Great for formal or festive wear

Cons:

  • More fragile and delicate – requires extra care
  • Open hole structure can make it prone to snags, pulls and abrasions

Recommended for: blouses, shirts, dresses

H&M
Lace dress

Bardot
Lace dress

Joyfolie
Lace dress

Zara
Embroidered lace dress

Chiffon

Loosely woven to achieve its signature sheer and see-through appearance, chiffon is a weaving process using S and Z-twist crepe yarns that results in small puckers that are a little rough to the touch.

Lightweight, strong, semi-transparent and flowy, the gauze-like fabric makes an ideal choice for layering and creating playful flouncy dresses in kidswear with an interesting texture and delicate feminine appearance.

Pros: 

  • Drapes well
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Ideal for layering
  • Strong and stretchy due to yarn twist and weaving pattern
  • Better movement than cotton and polyester

Cons:

  • Prone to fraying and pulling
  • Prone to shrinking and stretching
  • Susceptible to stains

Dolce & Gabbana
Chiffon shirt

H&M
Chiffon blouse

H&M
Chiffon dress

Dolce & Gabbana
Chiffon dress

French Terry

Image via seamwork.com

Inconspicuous at first glance with its outer resemblance of ordinary jersey fabric, French terry features a smooth knitted outer side and a loosely woven, thread-looped pile inner, which gives it its alternative name the loopback. Lighter than conventional sweatshirt fabrics, the looped backing provides a touch of warmth without being bulky, which makes for great light and cozy kidswear garments that are suitable for layering.

Pros: 

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Lightweight
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Easy care

Cons:

  • Prone to piling

Recommended for: onesies, rompers, t-shirts, leggings, tanks,  pants, shorts

Nike
French terry crew sweatshirt

Tea Collection
French terry romper

Adidas
French terry tracksuit

GAP
French terry joggers

Twill

Image via Potterybarn

A plain-weave fabric, the yarns in twill are packed closely together, resulting in its signature thick pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. Twill fabrics generally have a front (technical face) and back (technical back) side, with the front being more visually attractive, durable and pronounced.

Often used for sturdy work clothing, trousers and upholstery, the durable fabric choice is also prevalent and distinguishable in denim, chino, drill, herringbone and gabardine fabrics—which are all a type or variation of the twill.

Pros: 

  • Durable
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Opaque
  • Stain-resistant

Cons:

  • Can wrinkle
  • Prone to shrinkage if not washed correctly

Recommended for: pants, shorts, dresses

H&M
Twill trousers with braces

Toby Tiger
Twill shorts

Stella McCartney
Twill dress

Corduroy

Distinguished by its distinctive raised cord or wale texture, the timeless fabric dates all the way back to ancient Egypt in 200BC and is still popularly used today. A ridged material made up of woven pile-cut yard which is then cut into cords or wales forming vertical ribs, its unique twill weave texture results in a thick and hardy fabric that holds warmth and remains durable. Commonly used in kidswear due to its unique ribbed appearance and durability, the fabric allows little ones to stay cute and cozy. 

Pros: 

  • Durable
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Interesting texture
  • Easy care

Cons:

  • Prone to shrinkage – avoid high-temperature washing
  • Thick and heavy

Recommended for: pants, shorts

H&M
Corduroy shorts

Stella McCartney
Cotton-corduroy pants

Chloe
Corduroy trousers

Levis
Corduroy Pull-On Leggings

Fleece

A man-made synthetic product not to be confused with the coats of sheep, fleece fabrics are created from polyester. Woven into a light fabric that is brushed to aid in increasing fiber volume, it provides plush and cosy insulation.

A popular choice in kidswear fabrics for apparel as well as blankets, fleece is resistant to stains and easy to care for, and its moisture-resistant properties wick away perspiration and allow air to circulate to keep the skin warm, comfortable and dry.

Pros: 

  • Warm, soft, cosy, plush
  • versatile and dynamic
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Good insulation
  • Resists stains

Cons:

  • Can’t be washed, tumble dried or ironed at high temperatures
  • Prone to attracting lint and dust due to high static electricity

Recommended for: onesies, rompers, t-shirts, leggings, tanks, jackets

H&M
2-piece fleece set

Stella McCartney
Fleece jumpsuit

Uniqlo
Fleece leggings

H&M
Fleece jacket

Interlock/Double knit

Image via Teslar

A variation of the rib knit, the double knit construction of interlock fabrics results in a thicker fabric that’s soft, insulant, firm, and absorbent. Although it is heavier, thicker and firmer than single jerseys, the interlock fabric remains breathable and feels soft and light, making it an ideal choice for keeping the little ones cute, cool and dry. 

Pros: 

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Reversible and smooth
  • Thicker fabric type
  • Naturally stretchy
  • Same texture on both sides
  • Does not roll and curl at the edges

Cons:

  • May have a tendency to snag, fuzz or pile

Recommended for: onesies, rompers, t-shirts, leggings, tanks

Ralph Lauren
Interlock shirt

Dolce & Gabbana Cotton interlock leggings

Emporio Armani
Interlock romper

Kenzo
Interlock romper

Pique

From white-tie events to golfing, pique is a highly versatile fabric that is commonly used in sportswear, polo tees and formal shirting clothing. Characterized by raised parallel cords or fine ribbing which gives the fabric its embossed appearance, the double weave cotton fabric‘s pattern and structure lends for a more formal presentation than jersey fabrics. 

Its advantageous texture and weave type conceal and show less sweat, and together with its other properties of breathability, durability, and easy care, pique is a great versatile option for producing a variety of kidswear garment styles ranging from day to night. 

Pros: 

  • Breathable and airy
  • Formal look with the weave and knit type
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Shows less sweat

Cons:

  • Can be prone to wrinkling

Recommended for: onesies, rompers, t-shirts, leggings, tanks

Dolce & Gabbana
Pique romper

GAP
Pique Polo t-shirt

Lacoste
Pique tank top

Ralph Lauren
Pique romper

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